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Who should take inhaled corticosteroids for the treatment of COPD?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

The combination of an inhaled corticosteroid and a long-acting beta-agonist is one of the preferred treatments for people with a high risk of flare-ups. For some people, a long-acting inhaled anticholinergic or roflumilast may also need to be added.

The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) makes the following recommendations regarding corticosteroids.

  • Inhaled corticosteroids are recommended for people with severe symptoms and frequent flare-ups that are not controlled by long-acting bronchodilators.
  • Trying an oral corticosteroid first to see if you will respond to inhaled corticosteroids is not useful.
  • Long-term use of oral or inhaled corticosteroids alone is not recommended. Inhaled corticosteroids alone are less effective than combing them with long-acting beta-agonists.

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.